Hot Barbecue Concepts: Food Operators Share Their Philosophies

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Peckinpa, Vancouver

Peckinpah’s, a favourite on Vancouver’s restaurant scene, launched three years ago in the exact spot where the city was first settled in 1867. “We are right where “Gassy Jack” Deighton built his saloon, which eventually gave birth to the city of Vancouver,” explains Tyson Reimer, owner of the restaurant, which has annual sales of more than $1 million. “The concept behind the place is Carolina barbecue; we try to stay as true to that as we can.” That means showcasing the meat — not the sauce — and dry rubbing and smoking whole hogs for Peckinpah’s pulled pork, which Reimer serves with a chili vinegar and a side of coleslaw ($9.50). “We don’t do any sweet or tomato-based sauces when we’re cooking. It should be about the meat, although we do have a sauce on the table — kind of like allowing forks in a sushi restaurant,” he jokes. Peckinpah favourites include a pulled-pork platter ($15.50), baked mac ’n’ cheese ($12.50), a beef brisket sandwich ($9.50), and southern greens ($3). But it’s not just about the food at the 25-seat restaurant, which also offers a lengthy bourbon list. “I’m a fan of bourbon, so it seemed a natural fit,” laughs Reimer. “We have the largest bourbon selection in B.C., and we’re the top sellers of Buffalo Trace bourbon ($6.50/$9.75) in Western Canada.”

Bofinger Barbecue Smokehouse, Montreal

Bofinger_pulled_pork-MacnCheeseLorne Bienstock would rather be dubbed the “the man in charge” than be known as president of his restaurant chain. “It kind of takes the edge off,” says the owner of Bofinger Barbecue Smokehouse, alluding to his resto’s casual atmosphere. Beinstock, the sole owner of the Montreal-based eatery, is a proponent of authentic southern barbecue. “When you try to make it upscale, it deters a little from the true essence of what real barbecue is. It’s a get-your-hands-dirty kind of thing,” he laughs. “We smoke our meats naturally, using no preservatives, slow-roasting anywhere from six to 16 hours.” A proponent of from-scratch cooking, Bienstock opened his first barbecue joint in 2007. “Since then, we’ve grown to four stores, two of which are corporate owned and two are franchised, so barbecue has picked up in popularity,” he says. Offering a menu of classic barbecue dishes, Bofinger customers — ranging from students to families — regularly order brisket ($9.99), pork ribs ($19.99, full rack), and beef ribs ($15.99, half rack). Bofinger is a fast-casual concept Bienstock created after a tour of southern U.S. barbecue joints.

 

The Q Smokehouse, Halifax

The-Q-Halifax--pulled-porkThe Q Smokehouse offers a classic menu, which includes pork ribs ($21, full rack), pulled-pork sandwiches ($9) and several side dishes ($3.50 each). “We do authentic southern barbecue. That means smoked. You won’t find any grilled meats around here,” says Peter Goneau, GM of the Halifax-based restaurant, a division of the RCR Hospitality Group. “Our meat is dry-rubbed, and we offer guests the choice of several regional-style sauces.” Modelled after the smokehouses in the U.S. barbecue belt, Q Smokehouse has been open nearly three years. Its low-and-slow cooking philosophy has garnered the resto a following of locals who crave flavourful meats. “Our bestseller is our pulled-pork sandwiches, but we do plenty of parties, too,” says Goneau. “We probably have at least one to two groups a week order the whole pig ($395), brisket ($195) or turkey ($120).” The dining room is unique with floor boards and some furnishings reclaimed from an old church in the neighbourhood. Part of the restaurant’s charm is its 200-year-old communal table, which was reclaimed from a house in the valley; meanwhile, “the Bradley wash sink in the centre of the room brings plenty of comments from guests remembering their grade-school days,” Goneau explains.

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